Who is Jobless in the U.S.? Unemployment Rate Statistics by Gender and Ethnicity
[Updated February 2023]

Almost everyone has experienced unemployment at some point in their lives, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a crisis that affects a lot of people -- not only financially but also physically and emotionally. 

At present, the world population is about 7.96 billion, yet only 3.32 billion people are employed. This indicates that at least 4.64 billion people — more than half of the population — remain unemployed, which is troubling because of the economic impact on the individuals and the families they support. 

Below you can find the latest unemployment statistics you should know in 2023.

Topics covered


Main causes of unemployment


Unemployment statistics during COVID-19


Unemployment statistics in the U.S.


Unemployment rates based on race and gender


Unemployment rates by industry

Main causes of unemployment


Frictional unemployment

occurs even in stable economies as a result of workers leaving their jobs and looking for new ones, plus new workers entering the workforce for the first time (Investopedia). 

Structural unemployment

is a prolonged form of unemployment brought on by changes in the economy and other components such as technology, competition, and government policy (Investopedia).

Cyclical unemployment

is due to the irregular ups and downs in growth production. Cyclical unemployment typically rises when the demand for the product decreases (Investopedia).

Unemployment statistics during COVID-19


During COVID-19, the global unemployment rate increased to 6.5%. Over 220 million people were unemployed, and 81 million individuals left the workforce (UN).


In 2020, more than 255 million full-time jobs were lost, about four times more than the worldwide financial crisis in 2009 (UN).

The pandemic had the greatest impact on young people and women, with job losses of 8.7% and 5%, respectively, compared with 3.9% for men (UN).


COVID-19 further widened an already significant gender differences in labor force participation rates. During the pandemic, women were more likely than men to leave their jobs to take care of their families (UN).

On a global scale, young women are twice as likely as young men to be unemployed. In 2019, the global NEET rate was 31.1% for young women, compared with 14.0% for young men (UN).

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Before the pandemic, informal employment accounted for 60.2% of global employment. At least 2 billion people worldwide worked jobs lacking basic protection such as social protection coverage (UN). During the pandemic, these people were affected the most, with many businesses shutting down due to quarantines.

Unemployment statistics in the U.S.

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As of March 2023, the unemployment rate was 3.4%, 0.2% lower than in March 2022 (BLS).

There were 1.1 million permanent job losses and 1.9 million people who were temporarily laid off. The number of unemployed people fell to 5.7 million. (BLS).

The number of people who work part-time (less than 35 hours per week) has increased to more than 27 million, indicating the impact of hour reductions due to work slowdowns and business conditions (Statista).


In September 2022, 1.8 million people stated that they had been unable to work because their employer had shut down or gone out of business due to the COVID-19 pandemic (BLS).


21.4% of workers who said they couldn't work in May 2022 due to pandemic-related closures or lost business had at least some compensation from their company for the hours they didn't work (BLS).

Of those who were not in the labor force in September 2022, 452,000 people were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. This number is essentially unchanged from August. (BLS).

Unemployment rates based on race and gender


The unemployment rate for white people is 3.1%, while there are about 122 million employed. (BLS).

Women have an unemployment rate of 3.1%, while the unemployment rate for men is 3.2% (BLS).

The number of unemployed Black people is 5.4%, while there are currently about 20 million employed (BLS).

Black men have an unemployment rate of 5.3%, which is higher than that of Black women by 0.6% (BLS).

Hispanic people have the second-highest unemployment rate, at 4.5%. (BLS).


Asian people have a much lower unemployment rate (2.8%) than other ethnic groups, and more than 10 million are employed (BLS).

Unemployment rates by industry


Non-farm employment increased by 517,000 in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 401,000 in 2022. (BLS).

The hospitality and leisure industry added 128,000 jobs in January compared with an average of 89,000 jobs per month in 2022. (BLS).

Employment in many other major industries trended upward in January, except for the following, which showed little change: mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; and other services (BLS).


Employment in health care rose by 58,000 in January. In 2022, health care added an average of 47,000 jobs per month. (BLS).

Employment in retail trade rose by 30,000 in January, after little net growth in 2022. In January, job gains in general merchandise retailers (+16,000) and in furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (+7,000) were partially offset by a decline in health and personal care retailers (-6,000). (BLS).

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